Nigerian movies have kept many Zimbabwean film lovers glued to their television screens watching their intriguing plots and blend of lovable and despicable characters playing out life’s ironies.
Such has been the success of Nigeria’s film industry that it is now called “Nollywood”: Africa’s version of the US’ hub of film-making — Hollywood.
When the films started flooding the Zimbabwean market, many locals thought their interaction with Nigerians would remain confined to television, but the present reality is that thousands of Nigerians have now settled here. Zimbabweans are very enthusiastic about movies from Nigeria, which many refer to as “African movies”.
Perhaps, the greatest irony is that at a time when locals were packing their bags and heading for the UK, Australia and New Zealand in search of better economic fortunes, Nigerians were trekking to Zimbabwe.
Sometime last year, a Harare-based Nigerian pastor and head of the Redeemed Church of God, Nick Ohizu, appeared on a television business programme where he explained this paradox.
He said while Zimbabweans who had left the country were seeking employment abroad, Nigerians settling here were creating employment.
Indisputably, a casual observation of new businesses sprouting in the heart of the Harare will show a significant number of the businesses belonging to Nigerians.
However, many Zimbabweans are skeptical of the the real nature of business being conducted by Nigerians.
A University of Zimbabwe social work student, Tembinkosi Gumbo, said the flamboyant lifestyles that most of the Nigerians were enjoying seem out of kilter with the kind of businesses they are involved in.